SuperSync: avoid.

SuperSync is the most obtuse, confusing and flaky piece of software I have wasted twenty bucks on in recent memory. I wish I had spent that money on eight different iPhone fart apps instead. The UI is completely obtuse. It's a continuous exercise in, "why is that still grayed out??" and "seriously, is there no way to get a list of these differences??" and "CRC error again, you must be shitting me."

Before I'm forced to write my own using rsync and AppleScript, is there an iTunes-synchronization tool that actually works?


Update: Ok, fine, god dammit, I wrote my own.

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28 Responses:

  1. sherm says:

    There is not. I have even given up on rsync and AppleScript.

  2. David Glover says:

    The only working solution I have found is to use Unison (Or ChronoSync, if you prefer) to synchronise the iTunes folder.

    You have to start with a blank library on one machine, it doesn't work if you already have two different libraries - you'll have to manually merge them by hand first.

    It also has the drawback of possible conflicts, if you use both libraries inbetween a sync.

    But it's the only thing I've ever found that works without sucking.

    • jwz says:

      Both of those just sync directories. That's what rsync is for. The hard part is informing iTunes that files have arrived, vanished, or had their metadata changed.

      • David Glover says:

        This is true, *but* they sync bidirectionally, unlike rsync. As long as you have only used one of the copies of the library inbetween syncs, it works perfectly, since it syncs the database as well as all the music/video etc.

        It works best if you keep your iTunes library on a fileserver that isn't a machine that ever runs iTunes, and configure Unison to always resolve conflicts in favour of the fileserver using "prefer".

        In this way your iTunes library will always be consistent, even if you create a conflict.

        • jwz says:

          I want to sync a subset of the library, not the whole thing, so this doesn't help.

          You sync bidirectionally by running rsync twice with the args swapped the second time. You have to decide which end has canonical deletions, but that's a problem with any sync tool since the file system doesn't store deletion dates.

          • David Glover says:

            > You have to decide which end has canonical deletions, but that's a problem with any sync tool since the file system doesn't store deletion dates.

            That's not true for Unison (or ChronoSync), because it stores the state of the last sync. Using rsync for bidirectional syncing is a horrible hack.

            There's a folder in the iTunes folder called "Automatically Add to iTunes". If you put stuff in it, iTunes automatically imports it on next launch. Does that help?

            • jwz says:

              It would if there was some way to tell iTunes that .mov and .mp4 files that show up there are of type "Music Video" instead of "Movie", but there is not. And if .mov and .mp4 files were able to store a full complement of metadata in the files themselves, but they are not. Also that doesn't help with deletions.

          • Jesper says:

            If you want to sync a subset of the library, the tool will also need to know how to appropriately bodge the library database to make sure its entries are included or updated or removed, and the others aren't.

            There may be iTunes-specific tools out there that handle this successfully, but you're definitely out of luck purely with rsync and likewise tools. There's no "just this part of this binary database, please" with them.

            Knowing your history, I smell a long, arduous, why-do-I-have-to-do-this Perl script.

            • jwz says:

              If you want to sync a subset of the library, the tool will also need to know how to appropriately bodge the library database

              Uh, thus my comment about Applescript.

              This is what SuperSync does, poorly.

      • eugene says:

        I did not find a way to make iTunes recognize the changes, so I made sure that the sync operation is atomic:
        1) quit iTunes if it's running
        2) compare the timestamps of the local and remote library files
        3) rsync the whole directory from the more recently modified to the less recently modified.
        This way the library index and the files in the library stay consistent. I can e-mail the scripts to anyone interested.

  3. chrishawn says:

    a true market opportunity. honestly if anyone ever does make one, i would buy it an a heartbeat, been looking for years.. strangely have found many on the windows side. I currently use FolderWatch (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/folderwatch) it is slightly better than rsync and scripts.

  4. Breton says:

    A shot in the dark, but have you considered simply setting up your music videos in an RSS feed? That would sync fairly robustly. As for any other problems that may cause, I don't know. If you use the iTunes xml namespace, you have access to a fair amount of metadata.

    • Breton says:

      Looking into this idea a bit more. If you enable the OSX built in apache, make sure that "follow symlinks" and PHP 5 is turned on (in /etc/apache2/http.conf) then you can symlink to your music folder from the documents folder /Library/WebServer/Documents

      .. From there you could use this library https://github.com/rodneyrehm/CFPropertyList
      and write a script to parse through the iTunes library xml, pull out some specific playlist (or whatever it is you want to pull out), and render it out in this format http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

      It could even take a get parameter or two, to control which part of your library you're pulling in.
      Subscribe to the PHP script as a podcast. Each time you "referesh" the podcast it automatically looks for new items, deletions, etc and downloads them directly from your other itunes library via apache.
      An apple script could set the "kind" metadata to music video.
      sadly the itunes rss format does not include "kind" for some reason.

      and .. .I think that would work pretty well, unless I'm missing something obvious and stupid.

  5. Michael Dwyer says:

    At the risk of being that asshole, I'm surprised you're going anywhere near iTunes. I would have expected you to avoid the whole broken-by-design DRM.

    That said, although I've got quite a few more options for syncing stuff on my Android phone, I can't say I've ever fallen out out of ire with the default MP3 player. I haven't had the urge to find a replacement, either, though.

  6. SuperSyncGuy says:

    Hi,

    I work at SuperSync and wanted to chime in. I'm not sure why you are getting the CRC errors but we can look into those.

    In regards to the software being obtuse, SuperSync is a tool that allows you to sync your iTunes content between two computers, find duplicates, update meta data between computers, and backup your iTunes library. It does preset you with lots of options and different views of your libraries because there are different sync scenarios that our customers need. Our documentation covers most sync scenarios but something is clearly missing in this case.

    If you need help with SuperSync, please contact us via our website and we can assist you further. We want our customers to use our software and to be happy with the experience. We're here to help.

    • jwz says:

      I have reported quite a few bugs already, and while I've gotten some replies, I've gotten no joy.

      You do have a lot of documentation -- none of which has been helpful.

      I'm sorry to call your baby ugly, but that's one ugly baby. I don't imagine that a bug report that says, "Your user interface is an undiscoverable, diagnostic-less, un-Mac-like obtuse nightmare that makes me want to throw the computer across the room every ten minutes" is one that is likely to get a lot of traction.

      Thus my post here, looking for something written by someone else.

    • Shannon says:

      HI SuperSyncGuy,

      "...sync your iTunes content between two computers, find duplicates, update meta data between computers..."

      I can't get it to do any of that. I imagine some blissful fantasy land where someone actually does.

      "If you need help with SuperSync, please contact us via our website and we can assist you further. "

      I have tried. No response. Scratch that, Brad was responsive in 2009. But I still couldn't get it to work.

  7. joshua says:

    i've used syncopation (http://www.sonzea.com/syncopation/) without any trouble.

  8. Jeff says:

    On the upside, this post currently shows as the #5 Google result for supersync. Three of the first four are at supersync.com itself.

  9. Shannon says:

    I have reason to require a subset of my iTunes library duplicated on a laptop. I want all metadata to be kept in sync between the libraries in two directions. If I update the genre, rating, or comments for a track on the laptop, that metadata should be updated on the desktop. If I add new tracks to the desktop and tag them such that they appear in specific smart playlists which I have chosen to be synced with the laptop, those tracks should be copied to the laptop. If I change any metadata, do not copy the audio file again, just sync the metadata for the most recently modified audio file.

    I've been looking for a solution for years; have tried many apps that claim to have some of this desired featureset.

    Syncopation
    Slingshot
    myTunesSync
    TuneRanger
    Mojo
    SuperSync

    They are all inadequate. I know of no other solution that does the job. But I keep looking.

    I'm eagerly off to try your perl script.

    Supersync, although it reports to do what I need it to on first look, doesn't end up doing anything. I keep going back to it every 6-12 months, hoping it will work but never does. I think I actually once got it to copy some files and just ended up with duplicates at that. I've never managed to sync any metadata. Not once has the app ever done what I expected it to. The expected behavior is actually that absolutely nothing will happen when you execute any feature.

    Don't get me started on the UI. It not only makes me want to throw my computer through a window but I then have a strong desire to shove my head through the hole and cut my throat open on the broken glass. It makes me physically sick and I hate myself every time I try to use it but I keep hoping it will actually do what it says it will and if I have to go to the emergency room to get stitches so be it. If I could get it to work I tell myself it's all worth it. Reminds me of the definition of insanity...

    • SuperSyncGuy says:

      Hi Shannon,

      We have been backed up in our support system for the past week or so but most emails should have been solved. Feel free to contact me directly at jose AT supersync DOT com and I'll answer you question directly.